World number three Paulin and his new teammate, Van Horebeek, had shown good speed throughout training on thier KX450F based machines at the North Italian track to post the fastest times in both sessions on a warm, sunny Saturday which gave no indication that the opening race of the 2013 European motocross season was taking place already in January.
However freezing fog, which did not clear until midday, left the track treacherous and both Kawasaki riders wisely decided to treat the proceedings with caution with the opening GP just five weeks away at the Losail circuit in Qatar on Saturday March 2. The wisdom of this approach was verified as half a dozen of their leading rivals needed to visit the medical centre at some time during the day.
Both Van Horebeek and Paulin figured in the leading group of riders in all three races, the Belgian eventually just missing the podium with fourth place overall from 6-4-6 moto finishes while his French colleague was just one place further back from 3-7-5 individual results.
The Kawasaki Racing Team will now continue with early season testing before their next race outing at the Hawkstone Park International in Shropshire on February 10.
Gautier Paulin: “The track was very different from Saturday to Sunday, and I had more fun on Saturday as the ground was soft, posting some fast lap times. Sunday was different; it was frozen in some places and very dangerous with some deep ruts so you had to be careful. I felt good on the bike; we tested new factory parts last year, but just got them now for this race. I took it easy as the first GP is in a month, and I wanted to go back home safe and be ready to go training on Monday.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek: “I spent two weeks training with my Kawasaki in Spain on hard tracks, and I came to Mantova with a very good feeling even if the ground is more sandy here. The track was not so nice to ride on Sunday; it was slippery as it was very cold during the night.
I took three good starts and was able to keep the same rhythm as the other leading riders, but I didn't want to take any risks. But it was interesting to race for the first time with the factory bike; you have to get used to the power and be soft with the gas, but for sure if I can get similar starts in the GPs it will be perfect.”
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